No. 13 Ole Miss back home to face ULM with 'a lot to play for'
League: NCAA Football
Posted on: 15 Nov, 2023 at 01:37 PM
Credit: Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK
Ole Miss lost to Alabama in September to fall behind in the SEC West Division race. The Rebels lost to Georgia last week to snap a five-game winning streak.
Both of those games were on the road.
The No. 13 Rebels (8-2, 5-2) are 6-0 at home as they prepare to host Louisiana-Monroe in a non-conference game to conclude their home schedule Saturday.
"The chance to have an undefeated home season is awesome, so obviously a lot to play for with that," Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. "Senior day for our guys, a number of them to play their last game here, is special. We're excited to get this opportunity to get to nine wins, and going undefeated at home would be great."
The Rebels' hopes of winning the SEC West fizzled with their 24-10 loss at Alabama, and they were still a national player in the top 10 of the CFP rankings before their 52-17 loss at Georgia.
"You are what you put on film that day. We weren't very good," Kiffin said. "When you get knocked down, do you get back up or do you stay down?"
Kiffin recognizes that Ole Miss has a quick turnaround after the game against ULM before it faces in-state rival Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night in Starkville, Miss.
It would be helpful to the Rebels to take command of Saturday's game against the Warhawks early and get some starters some rest with a short week looming before such an important game.
"It's always good for your players to have a lower play count," Kiffin said. "It would be ideal to have lower snap counts, and it's always good to get more guys experience."
ULM is 2-8 overall 0-7 in the Sun Belt Conference after consecutive league losses to Southern Miss and Troy.
Warhawks coach Terry Bowden said his goal is to try to finish this season on a high note while setting a positive tone for next season.
"It's been a year of perseverance," Bowden said. "We've lost a lot of close games. You've got to keep your guys playing as hard as they can because if they're getting better, you're going to make the best you can out of this season."
Bowden said he's trying to balance being as competitive as possible in the last two games while getting a head start on next season.
He said he won't play freshman quarterback Blake Murphy, who has played in three games as the backup to starter Jiya Wright, against the Rebels so he can play him in the season finale against in-state and Sun Belt Conference rival Louisiana-Lafayette without losing Murphy's redshirt.
"We've got to think of what we can do to become better right now and then get ready for next season," Bowden said. "Your first goal is trying to get your guys to get better every game and go into the last two games as good as we possibly can be.
"You don't bench people and play rookies. Your upperclassmen have a chance to go out there and do the best they can. You want to make sure you honor them and you want to win."
--Field Level Media